High School Course of Study
If you have followed the high school planning pages in order, then I should have given you the impression that you must research the high school courses that are required by your state and that I want you to plot out the classes for all four years. It's true, that is what I want you to do and it is less painful than it sounds. I have two forms that you can use, one is called the Course Checklist; it is picured here. The course checklist may be downloaded from High School Course Checklist.
The 4-Year Plan Form
Please look at the simple form that I always filled out first and used along with the course checklist. It is called: Course of Study 4-Year Plan and it is on the High School Forms web page: High School Forms. Write in the classes for each year on the 4-plan. Keep the yearly work-load in mind when placing classes for each year. I usually aimed for no more than 6 year-long classes (or 12 semester classes) per year. Also remember that filling this in does not mean that you are deciding on curriculum, you are simple slotting the classes.
The Course of Study & Your Child
If you are like me, high school requirements might seem restrictive because now, your student must take certain classes whether he wants to or not. To a certain degree the restrictiveness is there, but you can work with it; you have choices. You can choose the content of the courses by selecting appropriate books, and you can choose if some classes will be taken outside of the home, at a co-op, or at a community college.
The Career Path
This part can be a puzzle. How can you decide curriculum content if your children do not know what they want to do after high school? You may not be surprised to discover that not every child knows what he wants to do. Despite this, you have something to help you decide, your child's aptitude and your child's hobbies. If your child cannot tell you what he wants to do after high school, then decide based on his interests, and what areas he excels in. On the other hand, you might not need to worry about career path courses because the coursework that is completed in high school is in line with the mysterious career path. Do not allow the career path question to get under your skin. Almost any career path utilizes two or more high school core subjects. Instead of fretting that your son or daughter does not know what to do for the next 20-30 years, decide to do well in the core subjects and let the rest take care of itself.
Working With It
Suppose your children show interest and/or aptitude in several areas that could be integrated into a class or be the class itself. I am sure you know what I am getting at. It is obvious. If a child loves math, then make sure he has the opportunity to take the higher maths every year.
Your high school student will have to take certain courses. You and your child have options within those required courses. You have choices. Do not fret too much over career path courses. The core classes, English, mathematics, science, social studies/humanities are very important for the child that is heading for college.
My Oldest Child
My son did not know what he wanted to do, so after high school he moved to Knoxville to take a job that was offered to him. Three years passed and he decided what he wanted to take in college, well, he sort of decided. He narrowed it down to computer science and applied mathematics and 5 years later he earned two BS degrees, both with honors. He also minored in Astro Physics. Sometime during his college years, he was awarded a SMART scholarship. There are some nice things about the SMART scholarship and one of those things is employment. My son started his new career shortly after graduating. He finds the work very interesting.
Update: The SMART scholarship program is changed and I have not read about the changes. The program that is now offered is called STEM Scholarships. The current URL is: https://dodstem.us/stem-programs/scholarships
October 25, 2008, updated 2015, 2018.